Tim and I have been married twenty-five years today. That the day falls on an ordinary Tuesday in the midst of a busy week seems appropriate somehow. Our marriage is built of days like this one. As I look back, it’s hard to remember those two kids who had no idea what they were saying when they professed those vows, and it floors me to think of all of the versions of ourselves we’ve been in the time since. Jobs, hobbies, friendships, and routines have all come and gone many times over in these twenty-five years.
What those kids could not have known is how two people can grow to cover each other. Our strengths and weaknesses were evident even then, but as the years have gone, we fill in blanks for each other as God leads us through life. Tim has an innate sense of direction, while I get lost driving somewhere I’ve been five times. I never miss a symbol in a movie, while Tim stays more on the surface. Tim organizes our music ministry and allows me to mostly just show up and sing. I have created the rhythms of our home life and he gladly steps into those. He brings me coffee, I fold his t-shirts. I love dancing, he’s happy being the DJ. He is a quiet encourager. I am more vocal. He is grounded and steady. I am…not.
As I see how God has woven our two lives together, I’m struck by the particular ways in which He’s accomplished it. In our kids, of course, and the raising of them and all that entails. In our music ministry. In our shared experience in volunteering at our beloved retreat house. In friendships and walks and trips and accomplished goals. In dozens of inside jokes, hundreds of shared stories, thousands of shared meals. In the hard moments when all we had was each other and our faith.
Tim’s minister gave the homily at our wedding all those years ago, and he made a point that day that’s proven true. A marriage is not made of two people; it’s made of three, with God at the center. That’s been true for us. As we’ve experienced loss and hardship, our faith has grown stronger and it’s pulled us closer together as a team. As a result, our marriage has been fruitful. I think I can truly say that we contribute more to the world together than we ever could have on our own, and there’s something kind of magical about that, and it’s humbling to think of the ways God has worked in it.
These days, our kids’ lives have taken on a shape of their own, and we find ourselves with much more free time than we used to. It’s not uncommon on a Saturday for Tim to jump on his bike and ride ninety miles, or for me to run far fewer miles or go for a long walk with my dog and a podcast. Our time together now feels like reward for a lot of years of labor, and that’s a good place to be, like when we snuck out to the city this past Sunday afternoon, to celebrate our anniversary a little early. As we drove in, I expressed that I wanted to duck into a church and say a prayer, and that seemed hokey and unlikely until we stumbled across a chapel right in the middle of the Prudential Center. We went in and prayed prayers of thanksgiving and hope for the future. Tim lit candles for our kids at the statue of St. Joseph and I lit some over by Mary. There was the most distinct crucifix above the altar in that chapel, and I still can’t get over it. Surrounding Jesus are disciples, saints, and angels. It’s the only depiction I’ve ever seen where Jesus is not alone, and I love it. Love is sacrificial and love is community and love is never, ever alone.
Later, as I sat next to my husband in the sun over gelato, I couldn’t help but see the gift of him and the gift of this time we’ve had. We were so young on our wedding day, just twenty-one and twenty-four, and through the years, we could just as easily have grown apart as together. But by the grace of God, we’ve made each other better, I think, and as I look to the next chapter, I see so much possibility. My husband has backed every single unlikely dream I’ve ever had with encouragement, enthusiasm, (and occasional IT support). Tim has dreams of his own and now he has the time to pursue them. He’s a good man, and I’m so lucky. Incredibly, he would say he’s the lucky one, and he might even mean it. Thanks be to God, it’s good, good ground for whatever’s coming next.
I love you, Tim. ~c.r.